Gay people face job prejudice over voices
GAY men with feminine sounding voices often face discrimination when applying for top jobs, a study suggests.
The same is true of those lesbians whose voices are slightly huskier.
Researchers at Surrey University played recordings of gay and heterosexual speakers to 40 heterosexual men, and showed the listeners a picture of the speaker.
The scientists, whose study is published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behaviour, used the two voices they categorised as sounding ‘most gay’ and ‘most heterosexual’ in previous studies.
The participants were asked to form impressions about the suitability of the applicants for a fictional job of chief executive, and the salary they should be given.
Participants who correctly identified the speaker as gay or lesbian viewed them as inadequate for the leadership role.
Having a ‘ heterosexual’ or ‘straight’ sounding voice led the listeners to think the candidate was more suitable for the job and also deserved a higher salary. The lesbian candidates received lower evaluations than their non-gay counterparts.
Lead researcher Dr Fabio Fasoli said: ‘Despite all the work to lessen discrimination against the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community, people subconsciously typecast an individual. This study highlights that it can be a real problem in the workplace and for people’s career prospects.’